ROOTS Week 2017. Photo by Melisa Cardona.
April 4, 2022 | ROOT Staff
After weighing all the options with input from staff, ExComm, and active ROOTS Work Groups, we’ve made the tough decision to delay our return to Lutheridge – our beloved ROOTS Week home – for an additional year.
Instead, we are excited to host three, smaller in-person regional gatherings across the South as well as a virtual event, all held August 5-7. This will be a hybrid, cross regional ROOTS Week, unlike any we’ve ever seen in our 45 years. These gatherings will include many of the things that we love about ROOTS Week: art sharing and making, critical and engaging conversations, singing, dancing, and for the first time since 2019 – sharing meals and consensual hugs together face to face.
These smaller regional and online gatherings will help reduce health risks and ease participants’ travel strain. ROOTS will follow CDC and local guidelines as well as our own safety protocols to minimize risks before, during, and after gatherings.
“This was not an easy decision to make,” said ROOTS Executive Director, Michelle Ramos, “In addition to the broader pandemic safety concerns, we had to consider the limited capacity at Lutheridge for COVID-safe accomodations and what that might mean for equity in participation. Only a privileged few would be able to attend, and this we felt was not in alignment with our values.”
This isn’t the news we wanted to give. It is the decision we believe keeps us most safe and in alignment with our values. And we understand the disappointment this news might cause; we feel it ourselves.
As Executive Committee Chair Yvette Hyater Adams expressed: “I’m missing big momma hugs. I’m missing that fresh mountain air, sticks and cymbals drumming me up early in the morning. I’ll miss seeing you ALL in the way so many have looked forward to, every year at Lutheridge.
“Another year of COVID variants spreading throughout our lands. Let us practice loving-kindness by keeping each other a little safer – not be too quick to rush to a large crowd, but to enter into gatherings in smaller, more thoughtful communities. Let’s show each other how much we care – and find ways to engage in smaller circles, and share big momma hugs creatively. We can do this – we live among that kind of talent!”
We are still working out the details, but here’s what we know now:
- The Annual Business Meeting, including voting in of new members, will take place completely online in early August, exact dates and time to be announced soon.
- Regional in-person gatherings will take place in Texas, Georgia, and Virginia from Friday, August 5-Sunday, August 7.
- Members not attending the regional gatherings will be invited to host local Rhizomes with other ROOTers during the same time period.
- For those who can’t or don’t feel comfortable attending in person, we’ll hold a virtual ROOTS Week alongside everything above.
Members interested in supporting the design and development of ROOTS Week are invited to join the ROOTS Week Work Group. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with “ROOTS Week Work Group” in the subject line to join. The first meeting is in early April.
We are looking forward to the time when we can all gather at Lutheridge together again. Until then, we’re excited to gather across the region and online – sharing art, food, and consensual (possibly virtual) hugs with y’all soon!